I always enjoy reading Maeve Binchy's books. I can never read too many of them in too short a space of time, but every now and then, a Maeve Binchy book hits the spot.
I hadn't read any of her books for a while, and I don't know why I suddenly had a desire to immerse myself in the pages and stories of another Irish village, but I did, and found great enjoyment in Whitethorn Woods.
The story of Rossmore and all its villagers, the underlying theme running through this book was the possibility of a bypass that would not only impact on the Rossmore community, but be built through the woods where a special shrine to St Anne rested. A shrine that believers, non-believers, and those who didn't know what to believe, traipsed to at some point in the story.
Such a development will always divide a community, which is possibly why I enjoy a Maeve Binchy read - her stories could actually happen! But this story was totally and utterly bizarre. This road never eventuated, nor was it really talked about, there was no development, nor did it grow to be a talking point in the story. In fact, I have absolutely no idea why it was part of the book at all.
Yet, I turned page after page of Whitethorn Woods. Each chapter was divided into two parts, and recounted life in the village from two different characters. I kept waiting and waiting for each of the characters throughout the chapters to somehow become connected - after all, there was always mention of Rossmore at some point in their lives... but I eventually realised that there was simply no way so many characters could link together to reach a conclusion. There were too many stories .
Despite this, I wasn't disappointed. It was Maeve Binchy to a T. And although it was a very different Maeve Binchy from those I've read before, such a story could only be crafted, written, and pulled off by this author. Fortunately, I've still got quite a few of hers yet to read... and enjoy!